Monday, April 23, 2007

God's Editor

Those in favour of harmony will always be hamstrung if the sacred texts upon which they base their beliefs are not edited so that the less salubrious parts do not poison future generations. Why continually explain away difficult texts when it would be better to admit that they should not be there any more?

Of course, the idea of emending Scriptures, when so many people treat every word as the unalterable will of God, presents immense problems. But believers of all faiths need to ask themselves whether reverence for ancient verses should be allowed to override the need for better relationships between all of God’s creatures.

A guideline that might be helpful in judging any passage would be to ask: if such words were to be written today, would they fall foul of the Race Relations Act or religious discrimination legislation? If the answer is yes, how can they continue to have religious imprimatur?

Given the scale of the task, the first step might be to urge that copies of the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Koran and other sacred writings be printed with the parts capable of giving offence in brackets; it would be akin to a religious health warning, to the effect that: “These words have survived from the past but do not necessarily reflect our teachings today.”

Read the rest here (if you have the stomach).

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